Frenchwoman Clara Copponi claimed the first victory of her road racing career as she sprinted to win the opening stage of the Women’s Tour in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on Monday.

The FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope rider pipped Italian duo Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx) to the line in a reduced bunch sprint after a final-kilometre crash removed pre-stage favourite Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) out of contention.

Copponi, a reigning world champion on the track, claimed the first yellow leader’s jersey of this year’s race as a result of her victory. Having finished third overall in last year’s Women’s Tour, she also leads the Breast Cancer Now points classification going into stage two.

“Today I feel good, confident,” she said. “I did my best and I’m so happy. I’m so excited, it’s a great day – it’s my first victory. I am excited for the rest of the week. I love England!”

Finishing fourth was Canyon//SRAM Racing rider Alice Barnes, who took he honour of Best British rider after day one, an award she won overall in 2021.

“My team-mates tried to help me and we had aimed to be patient,” said Barnes. “But I was blocked to get to them, so I made the choice to go alone in the final. I was able to find my way close to the front before the roundabout but I have to admit we’d already been slipping a lot all day on the wet roads and that didn’t give me a lot of confidence. The riders ahead of me took the left-hand corner too hot and crashed. I was able to find my way through and did my best in the final 100m.”

Video: Women’s Tour 2022 stage one highlights

Christine Majerus (Team SD Worx) leads the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains category having won both the day’s categorised climbs in Suffolk at Brantham and Bildeston. British team Le Col – Wahoo took the Pillar Sprints jersey courtesy of Maike van der Duin, who took maximum points at the two intermediate contests during the stage.

The Adyen combativity award went to Danni Shrosbree (CAMS – Basso), the day’s sole attacker. She broke clear following the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb at Bildeston and came close to gaining a lead of nearly two minutes on the peloton. However, the British rider was caught in the final 15 kilometres as the sprinters’ teams set it up for the fast finish on Angel Hill.

For full results and standings, powered by Brother UK, please click here.

Highlights of the opening stage of the Women’s Tour will be on ITV4 at 10pm on Monday 6 June and available on demand via the ITV Hub.

Stage two starts from the Harlow Innovation Park at 11am on Tuesday 7 June, taking in a 92.1-kilometre (57.3-mile) loop of Essex, with two category two ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains climbs in the final 20 kilometres at Toot Hill and Stonards Hill outside Epping.

The stage is expected to finish on Third Avenue in Harlow at approximately 1.40pm, with live coverage on Eurosport Player and the GCN+ app from 12:30pm.